Ghana through as Botswana falters in cricket qualifiers
By Bakang Mhaladi
GABORONE – It was a case of so near yet so far for Botswana who finished as runners-up to Ghana in the World Cricket League Division 5 qualifiers in Benoni, South Africa last week.
Only one team progressed to Division 5, meaning Botswana lost out after a spirited fight. Ghana ultimately proved to be the dominant side, securing qualification unbeaten in five matches which featured other sides, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Zambia.
Botswana went into the last day of the tournament hoping for a Ghana defeat to Zambia, while they themselves had to win against an unpredictable Nigeria.
But the weather intervened in Botswana’s case as their 50 overs match against the West Africans had to be abandoned, despite attempts to play over two days.
Ghana on the other hand managed to play and win their match against Zambia, despite inclement weather intervening.
But at that time, the qualifiers were no longer in Botswana’s hand, with the deciding outcome coming against Ghana.
On a low, placid pitch against Ghana, Botswana could only muster 154 and the West Africans easily surpassed the target.
Thats where the qualifiers were lost and coach, Joseph Angara felt his boys did not pile enough runs in their matches.
“It is unfortunate we didn’t qualify. Finishing second was not enough.
We did no bat well and we lost it against Ghana. We managed only 154 and Ghana chased down, it was not to be,” Angara said.
Botswana managed seven points with one no result after their game against Nigeria was abandoned.
Tanzanai finished third ahead of Nigeria while another southern African representative, Zambia could only manage one win and two points against whipping boys, Sierra Leone, who brought up the rear without a win.
Angara said Ghana gained momentum and the necessary confidence after their first two wins and with his side’s batting failing to improve, his opponents took full advantage.
Final log standings
P W L T N/R PTS
Ghana 5 5 0 0 0 10
Botswana 5 3 1 0 1 7
Tanzania 5 3 2 0 0 6
Nigeria 5 2 2 0 1 5
Zambi 5 1 4 0 0 2
Sierra Leone 5 0 5 0 0 0